Real estate agents are not all alike. They may work for their own brokerage, work as an independent contractor within a brokerage, be employed by a company, have extensive experience or only sell one or two houses a year. When you are considering who to hire the next time you buy or sell a property, I recommend really interviewing the agent to make sure you are hiring the very best person to represent your needs.
Experience: The more experience an agent has, the more exposure he or she has had to challenges and solutions that arise in a transaction. This allows the agent to take a proactive approach to your transaction by identifying and solving potential problems before they become real problems. Experience also means relationships – relationships with industry professionals, contractors, inspectors, appraisers, and others who may be called upon to help when it is most needed. You can ask the agents you are interviewing for an overview of their experience and for testimonials from past clients.
Negotiating Skills: Experience usually goes hand in hand with confidence. Confidence in a transaction means knowing what it will take to be the top offer in a multiple offer situation or knowing when to push on your behalf if something doesn’t go as planned with an inspection or appraisal. Having strong negotiation skills, and knowing how to use them, can save you thousands. The Inner Workings of the Transaction: Knowing how your agent will represent you through the transaction is important. Some business models have one person helping you with one part of the transaction and then you are passed to someone else. In order to be your strong advocate, you need someone who understands, and looks out for your priorities from day one until you exchange keys.
The Bottom Line: Different agents and companies charge different amounts. It is important to weigh the commission to be paid against the service you will receive. Ask the agents you are interviewing how their commission structure works and what exactly you get for what you are paying. Even if you are a buyer and do not expect to pay commission (as the seller generally pays it), it is critical to have a strong advocate on your side with a full set of tools as you are purchasing what is likely your largest asset.
Expertise and experience counts. You never know what problems may arise when buying or selling and there is no substitute for having a strong advocate at your side throughout the purchase or sale of your largest asset.
Before you hire any real estate agent, schedule a FREE no obligation consultation. I guarantee that the information provided will be vastly different from the usual stuff you hear from most real estate companies…and you’ll be very glad to learn it.